WENR, March 2017: Africa
Algeria: Government to Launch University-Research Clusters to Decrease Graduate Unemployment
The Algerian government announced plans to create discipline-specific, integrated university-research clusters in an attempt to combat high unemployment among university graduates. The proposal seeks to collapse university majors into broader specialties and pool resources between universities, research facilities and the business sector to provide training more relevant to social and economic needs in Algeria. Many of Algeria’s over 120,000 current graduates are insufficiently prepared for the labor market and only about 12 percent of them find employment. University-industry partnerships are expected to be clustered in important fields like management, health and medicine, communication technologies, computing, civil and industrial engineering, aeronautics and operational research.
University World News
February 24, 2017
Nigeria: Relief for International Students as Government Eases Restrictions on Foreign Currency
Nigeria’s Central Bank in February announced that it will begin supplying U.S. dollars for Nigerian students studying abroad. Students studying overseas will be allowed to buy up to USD $4,000 quarterly for personal travel, as long as their travels require a flight lasting at least five hours. In addition, parents will be allowed to exchange USD $15,000 per semester to pay for tuition fees, as long as the fees are paid directly into the accounts of overseas schools. The move provides relief for Nigeria’s international students, many of which experienced difficulties in paying for education expenses overseas after Nigeria’s government last year decided to curtail access to foreign currency in order to increase its holdings in U.S. dollars. Related story, this issue of WENR: Nigeria: How Will the Economic Downturn Affect Outbound Student Mobility?
The PIE News
February 23, 2017
Kenya: Government Ramps up Quality Control in Higher Education
A recent audit of Kenya’s universities has cast doubt on more than 100,000 degrees issued since 2012. According to the Kenyan Commission for University Education, many universities are engaged in questionable practices, including the delivery of non-accredited programs, admissions of unqualified students, admissions based on fraudulent credentials, and the graduation of students not meeting degree requirements. As a result of the audit, the government has shut down a number of sub-standard teacher training and executive MBA programs, as well as tightened admission standards across the board. The quality problems are said to be caused by the rapid growth of Kenya’s university sector since 2012. Last year alone, student enrollments increased by 23 percent to a total of 539,749 students.
February 21, 2017
Kenya: Major Universities at Risk of Insolvency
Kenya’s office of the Auditor-General warns that eleven Kenyan universities, including the University of Nairobi, the country’s flagship university, face imminent insolvency. The University of Nairobi, which according to the audit ran a USD $4.6 million deficit in 2015, blamed the government for the crisis, stating that government funding was inadequate to cover increased operating costs. The government, on the other hand, maintained that the funding crisis was caused by the mismanagement of funds by the universities. In light of the precarious financial situation, the Auditor-General claimed that the survival of the eleven universities is contingent upon continued government support.
University World News
February 17, 2017
Pan-Africa: African Universities to Expand Online Education
The Association of African Universities (AAU), a higher education coordinating body comprised of 380 universities from 46 African countries has signed an agreement with the e-learning platform eLearnAfrica that is expected to advance online education in Africa. The platform is fully functional on mobile devices and will allow Africa’s universities to reach 10 million students on the continent, including those in rural areas. The expansion of distance education could offer universities a cost-effective way to ease the shortages in admissions capacity that are commonplace in many African countries, although reach of the online platform is presently still constrained by the limits of Africa’s comparatively weak internet infrastructure.
University World News
February 10, 2017